Australia is a special place for our family. I traveled there by myself in my late twenties, my husband had been several times before we met since his Mom is Australian, we spent our honeymoon there, we took the kids when they were 3 and 5, and we went back three years ago when the kids were 9 and 11. And now we are going back again in May 2019. “Why?” you ask. It’s simple – we love Australia! It’s an easy country to travel around, the beaches are amazing, the people are friendly and welcoming, the animals are so unique and did I mention the beaches?! Also, there was a great fare sale on Qantas, so our tickets cost about $850 and include seat selection and flights from San Francisco to Sydney to Brisbane and back.
This year we are going to spend three weeks in Sydney and the Sunshine Coast. I use a combination of Airbnb, HomeAway, caravan parks, and Travelocity to find accommodation. I rarely book through Travelocity, but it helps me locate affordable city apartments that often aren’t listed on the other sites.
Regarding Airbnb and HomeAway, I’ve seen some price differences between the sites and I’m always up to save some money when I can. When booking an apartment in Santorini last year, I saved several hundred dollars because HomeAway does not specify the ages of any children staying while Airbnb specifies that children are 12 and under. One of my daughters was 13 at the time, which made her an adult on Airbnb and a child on HomeAway. Next time you are looking for a rental check out both sites. The same property may be listed on both, and you could save some money if you have teenagers!
Another type of accommodation that exists in Australia is caravan parks. These parks often have multiple types of accommodation for people who do not have motorhomes, trailers, or tents. They can range from basic (beds only) to 1-3 bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchens and full bathrooms. My girls love these parks because there are plays areas and pools all on the grounds that they can explore by themselves.
We will arrange some of our accommodations on the Sunshine coast before we leave the States but will keep the rest open. Since the kids were babies, we have traveled with accommodation booked. Knowing we had a place to stay was one less thing for me to worry about while traveling in a foreign country. In our recent trips, I have longed for a little more flexibility in traveling – we can have a rough plan with the freedom to change it by not booking everything ahead of time. We rarely travel in peak times, so we have good options for accommodations at the last minutes. Our first task when traveling to a new country is to obtain a SIM card with voice and data for our phones. This has made traveling so much easier! We can locate and book accommodation the day we need it all while we are moving around. We have found Vodafone in many of the countries we have traveled in, and it has been straightforward to get and set up a SIM card when we arrive.